An evening in Tripura

Think of North East, and the mind involuntarily conjures up images of lofty hills and sloping vales. Nature's own creation in all its finesse, undisturbed by urbanisation, provides a picturesque view of the flora and fauna, panorama of the land.

A group of folk artists from Tripura were in the city, and true to Hyderabad's tradition, which is becoming ever-popular, an entire evening was given to them to do what they were best at and the pristine environs of the Lalitha Kala Thoranam was theirs.

The population of this small North-Eastern State comprises tribals and Bengalis so much so that the richness of the latter's culture has come to be accepted as `native'. So, the evening saw more of a Bengali touch than the typically traditional `gharana' kind of presentation.

The cultural fare started with a tribute to the great Bard, Rabindranath Tagore. The relationship between people of Tripura and Tagore was beautifully portrayed in the `Rabindra Dance'. Then came the `Nabanna', a popular dance of the Bengalis in the rural areas. It is specifically meant to be a sort of thanksgiving for goddess Lakshmi after the harvest. There was yet another item on the mood after harvest - the `Mamita Dance'.

Then there was the `Gajan Dance' that signifies the year-end for the Bengalis and is meant to be a tribute to goddess Durga in the month of Chaitra (March-April). The `Garia Dance' by youth during the `Garia Puja' was accompanied by rhythmic music. The foot tapping was in perfect sync to the sounds of the drum.

An evening in Tripura

The `Lebang Bumani Dance' made pleasant viewing for the audience. In the period after the Garia, the hill slopes are full of insects called `Lebang' coming to the slopes in search of the seed sown on it. The males of the village make a peculiar rhythmic sound with two bamboo chips in their hands, while women run along the slopes to catch the insects that are drawn by the sounds.

In between the folk dance numbers were instrumentation and vocals of the songs of Sachin Deb Burman, father of the well- known Rahul Dev Burman. Strangely, the traditional instruments were missing. Surely a disappointment to connoisseurs, who found their way to the venue on Thursday.

But small sins can definitely be forgiven and people preferred to immerse themselves in the culture of the evening and let themselves be drenched in music, the greatest of levellers.

By Suresh Krishnamoorthy

Photos: Mohd. Yousuf

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